The Stall

The Stall

What is the Stall?  You cook for 2 hours and the temperature in the meat going steadily up and all the sudden the internal temperature stops rising. You crank up the heat and extra 100 degrees Fahrenheit and it still doesn’t continue to to rise.


Protein starts denaturing at 140 degrees. Pork muscle is changed from gelatin like substance to a more solid, individual fiber substance that comes apart at the touch or pull. There is transformation of substance.  In the stall the pork is being transformed from one type of protein to a solid substance and it is full of water.  It takes all these fibers being changed to allow the internal temperature to go up.  The consistency of the meat changes and all the energy instilled into the meat is eat up by the protein transformation until they are all transformed.  Then with all the proteins transformed the over all water content is ready to absorb the heat instead of all the proteins that are transforming.   

Definition of Process

Proteins are complex molecules that are made of various amino acids bonded into long, loose chains. When heated, the chains unfold (denature), and then they can re-bond into a more solid mass. More simply, when cooked, proteins shrink, lose moisture, and become firm. Coagulation actually refers to this process of proteins changing from a liquid (or semi-liquid) state to a solid state.

Its conversion of the proteins that create the stall. This process continues after the stall is over and when the internal temperature gets to high it will destroy the solid fibers. The solid meat will be come a solid burnt substance before it starts turning to ash at and extremely high temperature.

It takes a lot of energy to convert a protein from a gelatin like substance to a solid denatured fiber.  That is where the heat is eat up at in the stall.  The amount of energy the large piece of meat can absorb is a constant that cannot be changed so raising the temperature in the chamber is not going to change the amount of heat it can absorb unless it is so high the Butt catches on fire.  At 2000 F the butt will instantly be destroy and will become fuel for the fire. At 400 F the absorption rate of heat may go up a little but not much.  At 500 F the oil in the Butt may reach the flash point. That is where uncontrollable fires in a grill start.

The explanation has been in front of us all.  When you get a Boston Butt, Whole Hog, Brisket, Shoulder, or any piece of meat over 5 pounds that constitutes a whole section of meat that come in a complete membrane cover of its own. It is a self preserving system.  It has a system of preservation against heat.  If you put a whole section of meat in an excessive heat situations the moisture is going to go to the outside edge of the meat all the way around.  That way the center of the piece will stay protected. It makes it hard to reach the proteins and denature them or destroy them in an active state.

During the stall the complete piece of meat is burning through that layer of protection. Every cell has moisture, Overall shared moisture.  The piece of meat will heal a whole created by an injectors needles.   That system is still in place because it is chemically activated.  You have to burn through that.  Your talking about the last effort of the meat to protect itself. To protect the proteins from being altered from a living state to a solid denatured state.

You may think the animal is dead. All systems are gone no, not true.  Some of these things will be activated by stimulus as long as it in tact at all.

Step 1: Burn Through defense system 1 the total Fluid in the whole piece.

Step 2: Burn Through defense system 2 over all defense of each cell.

Step 3: Temp goes up as defense system is defeated. The number of protein cells denatured goes up.

Water when it is pure boils at 212 F. Each contaminate will lower the capacity of heat the water can hold making it boil faster. There is a bottom to this, the capacity of a system to hold heat will not change much at some point.  A Butt may represent a quart to a gallon of water. All that water has to heat up.  Its wrapped in a system that is set to deflect heat to protect the muscles.  Each whole muscle constitutes another bag of water.  If you stack 13 bags of water together because they are touching each other it will take longer for the whole to get hot. NaCl is made up of very volatile elements. Na will blow up and burn if touched by water. So will Chlorine. They react to water violently because they are being converted to NaOH, HCl.  Inputting these elements in the form of NaCl will reduce the ability of a body of water to hold heat.

Every cut of a whole mass of an area like a shoulder, picnic, butts, brisket. has a mechanical facet to it.  The mechanics of its defense system is still in place.  If you put more whole pieces together.

The Stall of 20 Butts is going to be a lot longer than 2 Butts depending on your cooker. If your cooker is putting out massive BTU’s it isn’t gonna make any difference but that goes down for effectiveness for each piece added.

Cooker puts out 100,000 BTU’s per hour. If you put 10 pieces in you have 10,000 per piece, 20 pieces 5000 per piece.  That is true for when you fist put the meat in. As the defenses break down the BTU’s per piece goes down.  Till when the whole lot it done the cooker will go back to 100,000 BTU’s free to breakdown more pieces if added to the cook.

The Stall

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